Open Studio Hartford is back, just in time for holiday shopping

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Open Studio Hartford is making up for not being able to hold in-person events during the COVID times of 2020-22 by doing two this year. First was a renewed springtime Open Studio event in May, and this next weekend, Nov. 18 and 19, at multiple gallery spaces. The event’s organizers, the local non-profit Artists in Real Time, refer to it as “the holiday edition.”

The vast majority of the art on display can be purchased, and a lot of the artisan works make for good holiday gifts.

While not quite up to the pre-COVID peak of 400 artists in 17 locations reached in 2019, the 2023 Open Studios Hartford will have around 100 artists in five separate venues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“There’s a need for an outlet to show and sell art that is simple and not at all intimidating; both artists and patrons are looking forward to it,” Artists in Real Time executive director Cynthia Bulaong said in a release. “The artist count is smaller, but OSH will offer the same enjoyable core and spirit of the arts.”

The most traditional open studios-style location is Artspace Hartford at 555 Asylum St., where dozens of artists work and live, and where they will literally be opening their studios to the public for two days.

There is also an Artspace Hartford group show of a dozen other artists who are displaying two works each: Amy LaBossiere, Elle Smith Fagan, Herbal Bones Art & Wellness, Joan Pollak, Lorna Morris Cyr, Maurice Robertson, Nancy Doherty, Sally Stamos, Tao LaBossiere and Yanni Sembrakis.

Michael Walsh/Hartford Courant

Cynthia Bulaong is the director of Artists in Real Time, which produces Open Studio Hartford. (Michael Walsh/Hartford Courant)

Arbor Arts Center at 56 Arbor St. will also be opening its art studios. Works include home decor and keepsakes by Born & Bred, photos and prints and other media with nature themes by Barbara Hocker, paintings by Bonnie Aparicio, expressionist works in a variety of media by Christine Chaise Greenwood, Africa-themed oil paintings by Kathi Packer Studio and “physical entertainment media” from Unapproachable A/V.

Parkville Market at 1400 Park St. will feature an array of art in its balcony space, from jewelry and crafts to paintings, collages, photography, pottery, greeting cards, wooden bowls and “interpretive art created by rescue dogs.” A portrait artist and a caricaturist will be creating new works at the event.

Two venues are only open on Nov. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: The Hartford Flavor Company at 30 Arbor St. showcases the work of 16 area artists and also offers cocktails and music from Brett Trottier. At the same time, the Jewish Community Center Chase Gallery at 355 Bloomfield Ave. in West Haven is holding an “Off The Wall Holiday Pop-Up Art Sale” of 21 local artists.

Open Studios events, and not just the Hartford one, were hard hit in recent years, and not just due to the COVID shutdown. New Haven’s City-Wide Open Studios was threatened this year by the unexpected closure of the building that housed its presenter, Artspace New Haven. A coalition of local artists and arts groups got city grants to make sure City-Wide Open Studios happened last month.

For more information on Open Studios Hartford, including profiles of all the participating artists, go to

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